Ericsson Response is a global initiative that provides communications expertise, equipment and resources in times of need. Today, about 140 Ericsson volunteers are active. The aim is to assist humanitarian relief organizations with communications technology and competence to contribute to a better and faster response to human suffering when disaster strikes.
By providing the tools to get in touch with the outside world, each other and those most affected by the disaster, relief workers in partnering aid organizations can act even faster and can focus on efforts on the ground instead of each setting up separate mobile communications systems.
Ericsson Response was founded in April 2000 when employees expressed a wish to contribute their experience and skills in disaster relief situations. Since then, hundreds of employees from all over the world have volunteered, been trained and deployed to various disaster relief operations.
For over 12 years, Ericsson Response has supported more than 40 relief efforts in more than 30 countries. The Ericsson Response team’s main tasks are to set up mobile networks for voice and data communication as well as supporting partners in training and knowledge sharing.
Ericsson Response works in partnership with many of the United Nation's (UN) different humanitarian organizations to meet their communication needs in times of disaster, as well as in close cooperation with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
At times of disaster, or a request for humanitarian aid, Ericsson Response’s partners will request assistance within the ICT area. Volunteers rapidly deploy communications solutions to support the relief organizations’ response to the disaster or their ongoing humanitarian aid. Such solutions include setting up WiFi (wireless networking) spots for Internet connection or distributing mobile phones for free calls over Ericsson Response network.
In 2012, after the UN requested that Ericsson Response supply a network that offered additional functionality, Ericsson developed a new container for mobile communication and multiple-access technologies which will significantly improve communication in disaster zones. The new container is based on the latest technology for radio-access networks with the ability to include all three standards in the future: GSM/EDGE, WCDMA/HSPA, and LTE. As part of its longer-term strategy, Ericsson Response has established an Ericsson Response Logistics and Training Center in Linköping, Sweden.
To continue to best support our partners, and ensure our own capability to respond in the best possible way, the Ericsson Response volunteers work to continuously upgrade the technology used; not only to handle more data but also making the units lighter and easier to carry, and possible to set up in under five hours.
Ericsson Response was part of the relief effort following the large earthquake in Haiti in January 2010. A portable container-based GSM network, hosted by Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), was deployed on request from the UN to provide several of its organizations with telecommunications and ICT support.
The effort was one of the biggest in the history of Ericsson Response with 18 volunteers working in shifts for six months to cover communication in the 40 km2 area, including the capital Port-au-Prince that was affected. Aid workers on the ground made about 3000 calls on a daily basis.
Throughout 2012 Ericsson Response worked with Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) partners – emergency.lu and the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) – to provide vital communications services to relief workers in the Republic of South Sudan.
The combined ETC response solution from WFP, Ericsson Response and emergency.lu provided free, reliable, high-speed internet connectivity that allows the humanitarian community to perform its life-saving work in remote areas more efficiently. 10 volunteers worked with this mission for six months on-site.
During 2012, apart from the support provided in South Sudan, Ericsson Response has been engaged with partners in other countries, such as Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.